ago THE GAY GENIUS
dismissed and ten new ones had come in their place. After a few days,
again ten girls were dismissed, and when they came to say farewell,
he saw that the girls had been crying, as if they had been severely
questioned by the grandmother.
It must be explained why the boy Emperor now showed such a bitter
hatred against two of his ministers. Liu Anshih was almost murdered
and survived only by a lucky chance, while Farj. Tsuyu died in exile.
Something had happened four or five years earlier. One day Liu
wanted to hire a wet nurse for his sister-in-law and found it very diffi-
cult to obtain one. After waiting a month in vain, Liu got very angry
and asked the old woman of the employment agency why she had not
"Your Honour," said the old woman, "Pm doing my best. The
chamberlain's office has been asking for ten wet nurses, and I was able
to send them in only today."
"What nonsense!" said Liu, shocked. "The Emperor is not ye/
married. Why should he want a wet nurse?"
The old woman then explained that she had received sharp orders
from the officials of the East Gate to keep this a strict secret. Liu still
refused to believe the story. He wrote a short note to a friend in the
chamberlain's office and the friend confirmed it. Upon this, Liu Anshih
sent a memorial to the throne which said among other things: "There
is a rumour going around that the chamberlain has been looking for
wet nurses. His Majesty is still young, and is not yet married. I do not
think that he should be attracted yet by the opposite sex. At first I
refused to believe the rumour, but the gossip is increasing and appears
to be supported by some evidence." He warned that if this gossip"
were allowed to be spread, the people of the country were not going
to like it
The other official, Fan, wrote to the Emperor himself. "There is a
rumour abroad to the effect that Your Majesty has intimate relations
with the rnaids of the palace. In my stupidity, I cannot dismiss all
doubts. Is this the age for you to have contact with women? Don't
you value your sacred body?"
According to the story, the rumour arose out of a misunderstanding.
One day after the audience, the Empress Dowager asked Lu Tafang to
remain behind, and said to him: "Anshih has sent a letter regarding the
procuring of wet nurses for the palace. His intentions are good, but
he does not know the truth. The wet nurses are not wanted by* the
Emperor, but for some of the young princesses who still need breast
feeding. He is always with me and sleeps in the inside chamber. I "cfo
not think there is any ground for the rumour. I have questioned the
maids, and did not find anything. Please tell Anshih to stop memorialis-
ing the throne on this subject."